BTS broke the all-time record for day-one streams on Spotify on Friday (May 21) with new single Butter. Spotify has confirmed to MBW that the track racked up 20.9 million global plays in its first 24 hours on the platform.
However, some 9.86 million of these plays were subsequently discounted for the numbers that make up Spotify’s public-facing chart numbers, which only credit Butter with 11.042 million in the 24 hour period.
Why? Because of BTS fans hammering the track on repeat.
Spotify’s strict chart rules are based on a secret formula, but industry sources tell MBW that only the first 10 plays of a track by each user on the platform are chart-eligible within each 24 hour period.
MBW understands that all 20.9m of the streams generated for BTS’ new single Butter are royalty bearing, even if nearly half of them don’t show up in the platform’s public-facing numbers.
Over YouTube, the video for Butter was reportedly viewed 113m times on day one, breaking the band’s own record secured in August 2020 with their first fully English language single, Dynamite, which amassed 101.1 million views on YouTube in 24 hours. YouTube has not yet officially confirmed the 113m figure.
Spotify states in its FAQs however that due to that secret formula, “you might notice the data [on Spotify’s Chart] differs from other reported stream numbers we share (e.g. in Spotify for Artists, Spotify Analytics, the desktop app, and other custom usage reports)”.
Furthermore, SPOT’s chart FAQs add that the official figures displayed on SpotifyCharts.com “are generated using a formula that protects against any artificial inflation of chart positions”.
The artificial inflation Spotify is referring to includes incidents such as that time in 2018 when over 1,000 Spotify logins were claimed to have been distributed by the BTS fan ‘ARMY’ to boost US streams for the band’s album, Love Yourself: Tear.
“On May 21, BTS’ Butter had the biggest first day in Spotify history with over 20.9m global streams.”
In August last year, BTS’s first fully English language single Dynamite topped 12.6m streams on Spotify, but 4.9m of them discounted from its chart.
At the time, MBW asked if the BTS’s global fan ARMY had co-ordinated online to boost the single’s day-one streaming numbers – and if they did so without turning to paid-for stream farms, were those streams any less legitimate than your average play on the service.
According to industry facing data on the Spotify for Artists platform, the 20.9m streams generated by Butter in its debut 24 hours were generated by approximately 3.4m unique listeners, which equals an average of around 6.14 streams per unique listener in the period.
It’s also worth noting that Spotify’s launch in South Korea, where BTS have a large audience, is a notable difference in the global streaming market today compared to when BTS released Dynamite in 2020 that could have played a role in their record breaking day-one streaming numbers on the platform.
Butter was co-written and produced by Columbia Records Chairman and CEO, Ron Perry.Music Business Worldwide